New Year, new laws. As 2020 dawns, these are some of the changes Oregonians will see.
- Griffin Wooldridge
- Thanks, but no thanks, plastic bag. You're so 2019. (Glass bottle, you can stay.)
New Oregon Laws - In Effect Jan. 1
Single-use plastic bag ban HB 2509
Oregon's single-use plastic bag ban takes effect Jan. 1. Single-use plastic bags are prohibited at retail locations and restaurants. People will be required to pay a fee (at least 5 cents) for any recycled paper bags, reusable plastic bags and reusable fabric bags at retail stores. At restaurants, a fee will be required for reusable plastic bags and paper bags will be free. Essentially, BYOB.
Bicyclists yielding at stop signs SB 998
Bicyclists now have the option of yielding—rather than coming to a complete stop—at both stop signs and flashing red lights. Red lights still require a full stop, and bicyclists must still yield to pedestrians and right-of-way traffic, and maintain a safe speed.
- Leo_Fontes, Pixabay
Community colleges offering 4-year Bachelor's degrees SB 3
Students are now able to receive their applied bachelor's degrees from four-year programs at any of 17 state community colleges. The new law will help students who may not have the ability or means to transfer to a traditional university. Programs will first need to be approved by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.
National Popular Vote Compact SB 870
In layman's terms: All electoral votes in Oregon can go to the winner of the popular vote—but right now, more states still need to sign on for this law to make it take effect nationwide.
Plates and registration transfer from totaled vehicles HB 2576
Notices submitted to the DMV stating that a car has been totaled will allow the transferring of plates and registration from that vehicle to another. The transfer can't take place if a salvage title was previously issued. Additionally, DMV-related fees are going to rise. The cost of trip permits will increase, and it will be more expensive to register and title a vehicle.
Noncompetition agreements for employers/employees HB 2992
This new statewide requirement will (further) ensure that employees don't share company secrets when switching employers. In May 2019, the Legislature started requiring employers to provide signed non-compete agreements to employees within a month of termination.
Employer Accommodation for Pregnancy Act
Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to both pregnant applicants and employees, and employers (or potential employers) can't discriminate against women for taking advantage of these accommodations.
Gas tax. HB 2017
Oregon's current gas tax will jump up by 2 cents—the second of four increases legally approved in 2017. The Oregon Department of Transportation will use some of the additional funds (estimated at $60 million) to improve state roadways, and the remainder will go to Oregon cities and counties.
Revenge Porn HB 2393
Oregon lawmakers recently cracked down on existing Revenge Porn laws, making it illegal to send pornographic photos via text in revenge against someone else. If your vengeful ex-lover texts an old nude to... well, anyone, you can sue them for up to $5,000.
Police summons and discrimination HB 3216
The majority of the state Senate agreed that unwarranted and racially fueled police calls only increase the tension between law enforcement officers and the black community, so they approved a $250 fine for such police calls (the victim would be able to sue the caller for up to this amount). In order to sue, the victim must be able to prove that there was some racist intent.
Important laws recently passed:
Plastic straw ban SB 90
Effective in June 2019, this law prohibits all food or beverage providers from providing single-use plastic straws. Yet, as soon as a customer requests a straw, workers can hand one over.
- BruceBlaus, Wikimedia Commons
- Oregonians living with diabetes can cheer SB9, allowing emergency insulin refills.
Emergency insulin refills SB 9
On May 13, 2019, the governor signed a bill allowing the prescription and dispensing of emergency insulin and related supplies and devices.
Paid family and medical leave HB 2005
In July 2019, Oregon joined seven other states that require employers to provide paid leave to eligible employees. Employers are required to pay their workers for up to 12 weeks of paid leave—longer if leave is the result of pregnancy/childbirth complications.
Immigrants and driver's licenses HB 2015
Signed in July 2019, The Equal Access to Roads Act allows undocumented immigrants to obtain their driver's licenses— though they still aren't eligible to vote. While they don't have to prove citizenship, they will still be required to pass a driving test, pay a fee, and prove they're current Oregon residents.
Prepaid postage on ballots SB 861
Speaking of voting, Oregon lawmakers approved a pre-paid return envelope for those returning ballots via mail in July 2019. Ballots can be mailed in from anywhere in the U.S.—no stamp required.
Rent increase and eviction SB 608
In effect since February 2019, rent increases are capped at roughly 7 percent annually. Additionally, the majority of landlords have to give tenants a three-month warning before evicting them without cause.
Soon to take effect:
Harassment laws SB 726
Fueled in large part by the national #MeToo movement, the Workplace Fairness Act will take effect Oct. 1. Additionally, all nondisclosure agreements will be made illegal. The statute of limitations on harassment claims will also be extended to five years; any and all complaints must be filed with the Oregon Bureau of Labor.